While Brazil’s Pentecostal Christian scene is rife with homophobia and misogyny, one Pentecostal church leader has led his congregation in the opposite direction, welcoming and blessing LGBT people and families. The Huffington Post writes:
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – With his booming voice and high-voltage charisma capable of working crowds of hundreds into a lather, Marcos Gladstone has all the trappings of a successful preacher. But Gladstone has something that most other Pentecostal leaders don’t – a husband.
He and spouse Fabio Inacio are co-founders of the Contemporary Christian Church, one of a handful of Pentecostal denominations in Brazil that welcome gays and lesbians with open arms and was born out of Gladstone’s dream to preach “a gospel of love and acceptance for all people.”
Barely a presence until a few decades ago, Pentecostals now make up one-fifth of the population in Brazil, which is home to more Roman Catholics than any other nation. They’re generally more socially conservative than their Catholic brethren: fiercely opposed to abortion, which is banned except in limited circumstances, and to gay marriage; in recent years, same-sex civil unions were allowed to be convert ed into full marriages. Some Brazilian Pentecostal churches even offer programs that claim to be capable of “curing” gay people.
Not so at Contemporary Christian, which this week celebrated its ninth anniversary and the opening of its ninth branch with a raucous, theatrical service at a converted movie theater in a gritty Rio neighborhood.
“They welcome you, they accept you, because God loves us the way we are,” said Katia Simene, a 48-year-old lesbian who joined about three years ago.